Cuvée is many things; It is a celebration of the grape and wine industry in Ontario, An opportunity for Ontario’s winemakers to showcase their favourite wines, A place for industry professionals to network, A recognition of Ontarian winemaking excellence, An acknowledgement of academic achievement by today’s oenology and viticulture students, And, a lot of fun!
a wine made from blending together different varieties of grapes
The most prestigious celebration of grape growing and winemaking in Ontario!
Often referred to as the “Academy Awards” of Ontario grape growing and winemaking, Cuvée 2018 was organized by Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI) and hosted by the Scotiabank Convention Centre in Niagara Falls on Friday March 23rd. The year 2018 marked the 30th anniversary of this benchmark event which proved to be the largest and most successful Cuvée to date; attracting 48 wineries, 12 culinary partners, and over 800 guests. This year, Niagara Vintage Wine Tours (NVWT), the top-rated rated wine tour company in Canada, was proud to sponsor this year’s event as the Official Wine Tour Company of Cuvée 2018.
Niagara Vintage Wine Tours: The Official Wine Tour Company of Cuvée
As the Official Wine Tour Company of this year’s event, guests were greeted by the sight of one of NVWT’s 14 passenger luxury Mercedes Sprinters on their way inside the convention centre. Staff from NVWT were excited to attend the event. Our group included NVWT’s owners – husband and wife team Chris and Gabriela Fuccillo – as well as Guest Services Agent Rebecca Hare, and Niagara Wine Country Guides Jeremy Miron, and yours truly, Michael Twyman. We were thrilled to connect with Cuvée’s guests and to promote the professional guest services that NVWT offers. Inside the convention centre, guests were wowed by the presence of one of NVWT’s newest luxury vehicles for private tours of Niagara wine country: a 7 passenger GL Series Mercedes. Friendly and informed Niagara wine country guides, world class cool climate wines, and riding in style—it’s what NVWT is all about!
The evening began with this year’s awards presentation in recognition of Ontario’s industry leaders. This year’s recipients included Cuvée Vineyard of Excellence Award winner Albrecht Seeger, Tony Aspler Cuvée Award of Excellence winner Sue-Ann Staff, and Winemaker of Excellence Award winner Angelo Pavan. In spite of achieving great success in the world of wine, Cuvée 2018’s winners stayed true to the Canadian custom of humility and inclusiveness. All award recipients spoke to the importance of Ontario’s grape growing and winemaking sector as an economic driver for the province, and attributed their success to the generosity of the winemaking community and to having a great team. These are great people making superb wines the Canadian way!
A Commitment to Education
Since 2015, CCOVI has managed a legacy fund which uses the proceeds of Cuvée for scholarships and research priorities. In recognition of some of CCOVI’s top academic achievers, four scholarships were awarded to Andréanne Hébert-Haché , Grant McKinnon, Carol McLennan, and Nick Pappas. It’s Cuvée’s way of supporting the next generation of Ontarian grape growers and winemakers.
The Grand Tasting
Following the awards ceremony, guests enjoyed free reign of VQA wines and culinary creations from some of Niagara’s top chefs. The theme for this year’s tasting was ‘Winemaker’s Selection.’ Each participating winery offered up samples of two of its winemaker’s personal favourites. The Grand Tasting room was a whirlwind of flavours, scents, and colours, with over 800 guests vying for a sample of their favourite Ontario cuvées. My personal favourites from the evening included selections from two of NVWT’s partners. For wine, I enjoyed Lakeview Wine Co.’s 2016 Viognier: a full-bodied white wine with crisp acidity and flavours of peach and tropical fruits. For cuisine, it was the HobNob Restaurant’s pan-seared citrus cured salmon with pickled fennel, cucumber slaw and dill vodka pearls, created by Executive Chef Adam Rapsey.
The evening was topped off with a dance party that featured craft beers and ciders from some of NVWT’s partners: Bench Brewing Company, Shiny Apple Cider, and Silversmith Brewing Company. Live music was provided by The Associates. The fun didn’t end at the convention centre—Cuvée 2018 ran all weekend throughout Niagara wine country and beyond. A ticket to Cuvée 2018 included a Cuvée En Route passport to visit all 48 partner wineries where guests could sample more of the winemakers’ favourite picks.
Far more than just a fun night out for lovers of VQA wine and Niagara cuisine, Cuvée 2018 served as a positive premonition for the Ontario grape growing and winemaking industry. From humble beginnings in 1989 with only 16 wineries participating and 350 guests attending, Cuvée, like Ontario’s wine industry, is only getting better with time. Indeed, the Ontario grape growing and winemaking industry provides jobs to 18,000 Ontarians, attracts 2.4 million visitors to the province each year, and generates $4.36 billion in economic activity annually.
Niagara Vintage Wine Tours was delighted to sponsor Cuvée 2018. And is proud to provide top rate guest services to visitors of Niagara wine country year round. We look forward to hosting you soon. Cheers!
Sommelier and Niagara Wine Country Guide